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  1. #1
    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    Post your brevet riding "secrets"

    I'm just starting out in this brevet business, but some things are already obvious to me, such as:

    1) Limit your level of effort. I won't go more than 85% of MHR = 94% LT unless I can see I'm going to make it in comfortably. I try not to go more than 78% MHR = 86% LT when I'm pulling or solo. That said, I try to start in the HR range at which I finished the previous shorter brevet. That means that I'd start a 600 trying to keep my max at 81% MHR = 89% LT. These are just my numbers. Develop your own.

    2) Suck wheel, and more than that, suck fast wheel. Someone moves out and moves out solo - let them go. Your group will almost certainly have them back. Two people move out, bridge up. It's better to have riders behind you than in front of you. You can't suck a wheel that's gone. But if they push your HR higher than you want when you're drafting them, let them go. There'll be more behind you. If they push your HR too high on a climb, let them go, but don't give them up. They'll probably back way off on the descent. That's what your 52X12 is for. Keep your effort even and get back on. You'll save yourself a lot of pain and effort if you can stay with a group who might be faster than you.

    3) Pull when it's your turn. I add 10 about beats to my drafting HR when I pull - that usually keeps the effort about the same even if the terrain changes. You don't have to pull long to keep your honor. Ten minutes is fine if you feel like it. So is one minute when you're tired.

    4) There's strength in numbers. If you see someone getting dropped, go back and see if they want you to pull them back up. They may come in handy later. If you can't do that, your group is too fast. Ride with the droppee instead. After a hard hill or difficult rollers, see if the group will wait for a minute or two for stragglers. Again, they may come in handy later. Maybe the slower riders will get dropped for good, but you've moved them up the road a bit and they've helped you, too. Make common cause with others. It's not a race.

    5) Getting gapped by one minute can turn into an hour by the finish. Imagine what your last brevet would have been like if you'd had to ride an extra hour.

    6) Do whatever you must to get out of a control with the group with which you came - or with even faster riders if you can.

    7) The usual stuff about eating and drinking: 250 cal/hr and a 750ml bottle/hr. 1-2 Endurolytes/hr.

    8) You're not alone in your pain. You probably don't show it. They don't either.

  2. #2
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Ummmm ..... about Points 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 & 8 ........


    I ride SOLO! There are no wheels to suck, there is no one to pull, no one is going to wait for me if I straggle, and I've got no one to wait for. The only gaps around here are the gaps in the pavement ... I call them "potholes". I get out of all my controls with the group with which I came no matter how fast or slow I am ... all the voices in my head are present and accounted for when I leave each control. And .... yes, I AM alone in my pain!


    My biggest brevet riding secret has to be this: KEEP MOVING! If I stop, I'm getting nowhere ... but even if I'm crawling along at 8 km/h into a headwind, or walking up a hill, I'm making progress.

    My second biggest brevet riding secret is something that was passed down to me from a couple who are experienced randonneurs, and who I "trained" under. It is this:
    Whenever you feel like you want to quit do three things first: eat something, drink something, and have a short rest (that could be sitting in the shade for 15 minutes, or lying in the ditch, or a nap, or whatever). Chances are, if you do those three things, you'll feel much better and be able to continue.

    A third secret ... when you feel very sleepy as you ride in the middle of the night, and especially if you start to experience hallucinations (I'm the queen of cycling-induced hallucinations), EAT!

    And fourth ... Bento bags are wonderful! They allow you to keep eating regularly even if you're wearing heavy winter gloves, or even if it is the middle of the night and is so dark you can hardly see your handlebar bag in front of you.



    I could probably keep going, but I think I should go out and lower my saddle a mm or so, and lube my chain. I don't know if I'll go for a ride, but I should probably do some maintenance.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Goonster's Avatar
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    Don't overeat on the day before the brevet. Go especially easy on fat and protein. Do not worry about starting the ride underfed.

    Eat something substantial just before the start, and during the first two hours of the ride. Since you won't find a lot of bagel shops open at 3 am, this may require some preparation. I bring two cream cheese and ham bagels. Any substantial sandwich that is not too messy to eat on the bike will do.

    This does two important things for me:
    1. Settles the stomach and calms the nerves.
    2. Fuels that early ride surge, when I always ride a bit faster than I should, but don't yet feel like eating bars and gel.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Goonster
    Don't overeat on the day before the brevet. Go especially easy on fat and protein. Do not worry about starting the ride underfed.

    Eat something substantial just before the start, and during the first two hours of the ride.
    hmm... so here's something that I've been curious about. In their literature, Hammer Nutrition says that you should only eat a big meal if you can do so 3 hours before your event start. If you eat one about an hour or so before hand, you'll accelerate the depletion of your glycogen and just get yourself tired faster. Is this true? Have folks experienced better performance depending on how they eat the night before and morning of a ride?

    My strategy last year was to eat a largish pasta dinner the night before, then have a pot of overnight oatmeal ready to be reheated on the morning of the ride; eat oatmeal, ride to the start, and eat gels and bananas until the first control. From there it'd be a mix of gels and real food across the length of the ride. That seemed to work with the exception that I would usually lose my appetite for gels and synthetically sweet food about 18 or so hours into a brevet -- which meant that I was usually getting by on Fig Newtons, fruit and convenience store bottles of V8 for the rest of the ride.

    Not bad for a 400 or 600, but I don't know if I'd be able to stretch it out on a 1200.

    So, a racer friend pushed some Sustained Energy on me, and I tried it on a training ride and liked it, but don't know yet if I want to use it as a primary brevet fuel. I still like the idea of real food, but after having some weird gastro-queasiness on my 300, I can see the logic in relying on something that's easy to digest.

    (but, yeah, I guess my secret is that you can ride as far as you want so long as you feed yourself properly. If you can do a 200k, you have the physical conditioning needed to finish a 300, 400 and 600. All the other rides just test other aspects of your preparation -- how you deal with night riding, sleep deprivation and stressful calorie consumption, basically)

  5. #5
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spokenword
    hmm... so here's something that I've been curious about. In their literature, Hammer Nutrition says that you should only eat a big meal if you can do so 3 hours before your event start. If you eat one about an hour or so before hand, you'll accelerate the depletion of your glycogen and just get yourself tired faster. Is this true? Have folks experienced better performance depending on how they eat the night before and morning of a ride?
    I can eat quite a large meal the night before, but I cannot eat breakfast. That's not just a brevet thing, that's life. My stomach doesn't wake up before 10 am. Over the 7 years I've been doing this, I have discovered that whether it is the morning of the start of the brevet, or when I wake up from a nap in the middle of a 600K, 1000K, or 1200K, it is better for me to just leave the eating alone until I've been riding a while. After an hour or so, I start to get hungry, and that's when I can eat. Before that ... I'll lose it in the ditch.

    I worried about starting rides on no, or next to no, food for a while, then realized that my body prefers it that way, and can handle it all right, so now I'm OK with that. If you're near me on a 1200K, you'll see me wake up from my night's sleep (all 2 hours of it), stagger onto my bicycle (grumbling and mumbling), and ride off down the road. About 2-3 hours later you'll find me in a restaurant stuffing my face with eggs, bacon, hash browns, pancakes, waffles, toast, coffee, and orange juice ... and I'm as happy as can be. Give me a few minutes to digest some of that, and I'll be flying down the road!

    As for the use of gels, I bring gels with me on all my rides, but I only use them for emergency use. When my stomach is having trouble with solid food, I'll use a gel. When I feel like I'm on the verge of a bonk, I'll use a gel, and then follow it up with real food. When I've got 10 kms to go before a control where I can get all my eggs, bacon, hash browns, etc. etc., and I don't really want to start an energy bar, I might use a gel. But I don't depend on them as part of my nutrition.


    And I'm sorry to hear you were forced to try Sustained Energy!!

  6. #6
    34x25 FTW! oboeguy's Avatar
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    I've never ridden over ~260km in a day but my one bit of advice (aside from some good stuff above) is to learn what you like to eat and more importantly can tolerate on long rides. I could eat bagel quarters with peanut butter and honey (or agave nectar or maple cream etc) all day long and they go down really well when I'm on the bike.

    I like Machka's advice especially: keep moving (for me, don't dally at controles) but if you're wasted, don't be afraid to take a little roadside nap. I did this during my ascent of Haleakala (having slept maybe three hours the night before) I went from crawling to hammering out of the saddle after a 10-15 minute powernap. I learned that a Camelbak makes a decent pillow.
    Quote Originally Posted by Blue Order
    Quote Originally Posted by sknhgy
    I do not want to be associated with the kind of riders that come through my neck of the woods on weekends, dressed in superhero costumes
    Do they wear capes?
    ---

    http://www.cycopaths.net/

  7. #7
    34x25 FTW! oboeguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka
    As for the use of gels, I bring gels with me on all my rides, but I only use them for emergency use. When my stomach is having trouble with solid food, I'll use a gel. When I feel like I'm on the verge of a bonk, I'll use a gel, and then follow it up with real food. When I've got 10 kms to go before a control where I can get all my eggs, bacon, hash browns, etc. etc., and I don't really want to start an energy bar, I might use a gel. But I don't depend on them as part of my nutrition.
    My gel policy is about the same with one variation: I try to keep a caffeinated one or two around for when I really need a boost. Works wonders!
    Quote Originally Posted by Blue Order
    Quote Originally Posted by sknhgy
    I do not want to be associated with the kind of riders that come through my neck of the woods on weekends, dressed in superhero costumes
    Do they wear capes?
    ---

    http://www.cycopaths.net/

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka
    And I'm sorry to hear you were forced to try Sustained Energy!!
    for clarification, I wasn't 'forced' per se, but a friend that I knew very kindly scooped out a small batch into a ziploc and said, "Here, try it. It's free."

    In retrospect, I think that he should've also thrown in a mirror, straight razor and a $20 bill

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka
    I get out of all my controls with the group with which I came no matter how fast or slow I am ... all the voices in my head are present and accounted for when I leave each control.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------
    You can't win until you're not afraid to lose.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Goonster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spokenword
    If you eat one about an hour or so before hand, you'll accelerate the depletion of your glycogen and just get yourself tired faster. Is this true? Have folks experienced better performance depending on how they eat the night before and morning of a ride?
    I'm not really that concerned about glycogen depletion, because much of the ride is done in a fully depleted state anyway.

    My first couple years of brevet riding, I'd always be super busy and stressed out the day before. I'd worry about not eating enough, or too late, and would eat a huge lunch. Since the event would begin before the digestive cycle could complete, I'd ride around all day with what felt like a brick in my guts.

    When I eliminated the monster lunch, I found I'd crave Egg McMuffins during the first couple of hours of the ride. Since I could never get them, I substituted the bagels described above. This method may very well not be ideal for events up to say, six or seven hours, but it works for me on rides that go all day and beyond.

    I've used Sustained Energy, Accelerade and have now settled on Clif Recovery mix. All of them work for me, but I need to get real food periodically, otherwise everything just sloshes around down there and I get sour stomach.

  11. #11
    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spokenword
    hmm... so here's something that I've been curious about. In their literature, Hammer Nutrition says that you should only eat a big meal if you can do so 3 hours before your event start. If you eat one about an hour or so before hand, you'll accelerate the depletion of your glycogen and just get yourself tired faster. Is this true? Have folks experienced better performance depending on how they eat the night before and morning of a ride?

    My strategy last year was to eat a largish pasta dinner the night before, then have a pot of overnight oatmeal ready to be reheated on the morning of the ride; eat oatmeal, ride to the start, and eat gels and bananas until the first control. From there it'd be a mix of gels and real food across the length of the ride. That seemed to work with the exception that I would usually lose my appetite for gels and synthetically sweet food about 18 or so hours into a brevet -- which meant that I was usually getting by on Fig Newtons, fruit and convenience store bottles of V8 for the rest of the ride.

    Not bad for a 400 or 600, but I don't know if I'd be able to stretch it out on a 1200.

    So, a racer friend pushed some Sustained Energy on me, and I tried it on a training ride and liked it, but don't know yet if I want to use it as a primary brevet fuel. I still like the idea of real food, but after having some weird gastro-queasiness on my 300, I can see the logic in relying on something that's easy to digest.
    I think Dr. Misner is saying that your blood sugar drops off about an hour after you eat if you aren't exercising. So you don't want to start a hard ride that way. I don't think it has much to do with glycogen use on a brevet, since you better not be riding that hard anyway.

    I do something similar, except I drink a liquid breakfast of my malto/soy mix about 2 hours before the start. Then I start eating 15 minutes after the start. My most important time to eat is the first 3 hours. It's easy to mess that up because you aren't hungry yet, but if you get depleted then, it affects the whole day's ride.

    I use my homemade Sustained Energy, which tastes better than SE and works great. However, as the brevets get longer and the pace gets easier, I think at least 50% of calories have to come from real food - sandwiches, pizza, bagels, all that good stuff that's not at all sweets, and is more like what you'd eat at home.

    So far one of the things that works for me is that if I feel queasy, I stop eating and start drinking more water and take an Endurolyte or two. Queasy for me means the osmolality of the liquid in my stomach is too high and it won't go across the stomach wall. So I dilute it.

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    hmm... so here's something that I've been curious about. In their literature, Hammer Nutrition says that you should only eat a big meal if you can do so 3 hours before your event start. If you eat one about an hour or so before hand, you'll accelerate the depletion of your glycogen and just get yourself tired faster. Is this true? Have folks experienced better performance depending on how they eat the night before and morning of a ride?
    My blood glucose has always been a bit wonky, as there's a huge history of diabetes in my family. If I eat just about anything within an hour of getting onto the bike, I'll spend the first 30 minutes of the ride in a bonky haze, and never really feel right after that.

    For me, I HAVE to follow the classic road racing advice of eating at least three hours prior to the ride, or else beginning 15 minutes into it. For long road races/rides, I've never found anything better for me than the classic road racer's breakfast of rare steak and rice. Yes, it has to be choked down at five A.M., and no, it isn't terribly easy to find restaurants that will make it for you at that hour, but it does work.

    The day before should just be your regular, healthy diet, IMO. "Carbo loading" doesn't work if you haven't intentionally depleted your liver glycogen stores for the week prior, and the resulting "hyperloaded" liver doesn't add more than an hour or so of glycogen-fueled effort to your ride anyway. Hinault used the technique to win the GP des Nations time trial a few decades ago, but if your local brevet takes more than three hours or so, it's a waste of time. I'm not against a big plate of pasta the day before, but don't think it's magic -- and if you're not used to big plates of pasta, it may keep you awake and full of gas all night!

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    BTW, just to elaborate on the effects of eating too close to the ride, for folks who might not be familiar with it: when you eat, the food is broken down and becomes glucose in the bloodstream. The cells of your body can't admit glucose molecules without the presence of insulin, so your body reacts to the presence of blood glucose by creating extra insulin. This works great unless you start using up a bunch of glucose by exercising. Now you've got more insulin in your system than is required and your blood sugar levels rapidly drop, resulting in fatigue, light headedness, sweating, and the other fun symptoms of the bonk.

    So the idea is to either eat long before you start exercising, so the blood insulin levels stabilize, or after you've begun exercising, so your body knows not to release too much insulin in the first place.

    HTH!
    Last edited by Six jours; 05-16-07 at 11:59 PM.

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    Anyway, my long distance "secret": set your bike up exactly the way you intend to use it for the event, ride the heck out of that set-up in training, and if it's satisfactory, don't change ANYTHING before the event. It seems so obvious, but I've lost track of the number of people that I've seen come to grief because they're trying a new pump mounting location, energy drink, cleat design, chamois, or (god help us!) saddle.

  15. #15
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Six jours
    Anyway, my long distance "secret": set your bike up exactly the way you intend to use it for the event, ride the heck out of that set-up in training, and if it's satisfactory, don't change ANYTHING before the event. It seems so obvious, but I've lost track of the number of people that I've seen come to grief because they're trying a new pump mounting location, energy drink, cleat design, chamois, or (god help us!) saddle.
    +1

    When I'm packing .....
    I always keep my tools on one side - the chain side, because if I have to lie my bicycle down to fix something the tools will be on top. My medical stuff goes on the other side because when I pull up to a building and lean my bicycle, I usually lean it chain-side in, so the butt cream and pain killers are easy to access. My spare clothing goes in the middle. Food in the handlebar bag, and bento bag.

    I know on my first 600K, I needed to make a battery change in the middle of the night, in the middle of nowhere, in pitch dark, and I had quite a time finding my batteries. Now that I keep everything in a consistent location, I can find what I need in a few seconds, rather than digging for 15 minutes.

    In the last couple years I haven't ridden with full randonneuring setup as much as I used to, now that I'm used to my full randonneuring setup, but when I was starting out, even if I was going out for a 50 km ride around the neighborhood, I'd be out there with handlebar bag, carradice, etc. etc. Those 50 km rides are the time to experiment with placement, and setup, etc. ... rather than in the middle of a 300K.

  16. #16
    Dog is my co-pilot 2manybikes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka

    A third secret ... when you feel very sleepy as you ride in the middle of the night, and especially if you start to experience hallucinations (I'm the queen of cycling-induced hallucinations), EAT!
    Are you worried they may cause a crash? Or gettng lost?

    I got lost at night once because I was so tired I really did not know where I was going. I came to a landmark 10 miles from where I thought I was! I thought I might get so lost I could not pedal home.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  17. #17
    ****ist lazzarello's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka
    And I'm sorry to hear you were forced to try Sustained Energy!!
    I'm a big fan of sustained energy and pretty much everything hammer makes. For the 400k I brought 3 20oz bottles worth of powder and sipped on it all day. It tastes like play dough, but after the 300k I got used to it and now it's familiar and not gross at all.

    I freaked out before the 300k about eating and got on this schedule that works fine. I have a ridiculous metabolism so I'm constantly eating. For the 400k I went through:

    5 clif bars. 2 with caffeine
    one package of clif blocks
    3 servings of my buddy's reverse engineered clif shot gel
    three bottles of sustained energy
    and lots of stuff at rest stops. Pizza, PB&J, crackers, bananas, various cola.

    AFAIK I haven't gained any weight since starting the PBP qualifier series so I guess I'm doing something right.

  18. #18
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2manybikes
    Are you worried they may cause a crash? Or gettng lost?

    I got lost at night once because I was so tired I really did not know where I was going. I came to a landmark 10 miles from where I thought I was! I thought I might get so lost I could not pedal home.

    I'm more worried they will cause a crash. Some have been so real, I've been all over the road trying to avoid them (like the thousands of leaves that turned into broken glass as far as the eye could see), and at times I've come close to not being sure where exactly the road is. At the back of my mind, I'm always worried I'll ride right off the road, or that I'll suddenly swerve to avoid something (like all the large floating animals and dragons and things) and swerve into the path of a vehicle.

    The other thing about some of my hallucinations is that they are frightening ... like really demonic and scary! They freak me right out. Faces in the bushes do that. And the people kneeling by the side of the road were a little creepy.

    Others are OK ... some are more "interesting" than anything else. The sculptures that looked sort of like the statue of liberty were well done, the giant with the camera was a little worrying at first until I realized he wasn't going to hurt me, and the lollipop sign had me a bit confused for a while.

    I have to say the strangest one was the one where both me and the guy I was riding with saw a housing settlement in the distance, with lights in the windows of the houses and everything ....... but it wasn't there.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Six jours
    So the idea is to either eat well before you start exercising, so the blood insulin levels stabilize, or after you've begun exercising, so your body knows not to release too much insulin in the first place.
    That's really good to know. Thanks! and thanks for all of the other handy answers in the thread ... I think that bit about how a big dinner might lead to gasiness and a sleepless night might explain part of my difficulties with the 300.

    Also, with regards to bike setup and packing -- like Machka, I also pack all of my gear in the same places on my rack, bar and bento bags. However, I also use my brevet bike for commuting in between my rides, so I tend to shift a lot of gear back and forth between my brevet bag and my commuting panniers. So, what I also do is organize most of my gear with mini-bags within my bags -- a habit picked up from camping. I have a waterproof tool roll. A ziploc for tires and tubes. A ziploc for my rain jacket (being able to squeeze the air out of the ziploc before sealing also helps to compress the jacket). A ziploc for food. A double ziploc for electronics. Ziploc for brevet card, spare cue sheet and minimap. etc.

    With that, it's easy for me to figure out where various things are, even when sleep-deprived. Also rather than trying to repack all of my tools and tubes piece by piece into my panniers, I can just grab the tool roll and spare tube bag , drop those in and leave everything else in the brevet bag.

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    I have to say the strangest one was the one where both me and the guy I was riding with saw a housing settlement in the distance, with lights in the windows of the houses and everything ....... but it wasn't there.
    If your hallucinations are catching, I might have to make a trip up to Canada one of these days. Any chance you could hallucinate a naked Jessica Alba for me?

  21. #21
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Six jours
    If your hallucinations are catching, I might have to make a trip up to Canada one of these days. Any chance you could hallucinate a naked Jessica Alba for me?

    Sorry .... so far, all the subjects of my hallucinations have been clothed.


    But I must say they are extremely vivid and realistic. I've actually made the mistake of pointing them out to other riders ..... who then look at me like I've completely lost it.

  22. #22
    Dog is my co-pilot 2manybikes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka
    I'm more worried they will cause a crash. Some have been so real, I've been all over the road trying to avoid them (like the thousands of leaves that turned into broken glass as far as the eye could see), and at times I've come close to not being sure where exactly the road is. At the back of my mind, I'm always worried I'll ride right off the road, or that I'll suddenly swerve to avoid something (like all the large floating animals and dragons and things) and swerve into the path of a vehicle.

    The other thing about some of my hallucinations is that they are frightening ... like really demonic and scary! They freak me right out. Faces in the bushes do that. And the people kneeling by the side of the road were a little creepy.

    Others are OK ... some are more "interesting" than anything else. The sculptures that looked sort of like the statue of liberty were well done, the giant with the camera was a little worrying at first until I realized he wasn't going to hurt me, and the lollipop sign had me a bit confused for a while.

    I have to say the strangest one was the one where both me and the guy I was riding with saw a housing settlement in the distance, with lights in the windows of the houses and everything ....... but it wasn't there.


    Do you realize what's going on and stop and eat? Do you keep rolling and eat?

    I read about this in a magazine article about RAAM riders having the same thing. But they had a truck and replacement riders right behind them. I think I have been so tired I could not see the curb cut or the side road to turn onto. I stopped and was OK in just a minute or two.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

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    Quote Originally Posted by Goonster
    I'm not really that concerned about glycogen depletion, because much of the ride is done in a fully depleted state anyway.
    I find this so hard to believe.

    I get 'fully depleted' easily. If I'm not careful with my food intake, it happens on a daily basis. The effects include tunnel vision, blurred vision, severe weakness, nausea and irrational behaviour.

  24. #24
    Senior Member Richard Cranium's Avatar
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    I doubt there are any "secrets" to riding Brevets. Most of the mish-mash in this thread demonstrates the typical differences in ability and goals one can expect to find among a diverse group of riders.

    In these "modern days", there are a few things that just about any "web-savvy" rider can do before a Brevet. One thing, that I feel is important, is simply knowing as much as you can about the Brevet course and the possible prevailing weather patterns, winds, hills etc. This can be accomplished, if you can get preride-access to the course and know a little about mapping software...

    The other "secret" would involve knowing something about the controls and or the type of services available on the route. Often, controls are NOT the best place to rest and refuel on a given Brevet. Sure you have to stop and get "signed in", but that doesn't mean you have to stay there.

    If you know about a better cafe, bar, or market, that has air conditioning, seats or benches, go there instead of hanging out at the busier, noisier control point. Many times, controls are at gas stations, yet you can go around the block to a grocery store and get yourself some orange and grapes as well as quality deli-products..... Often Internet searches can identify these places for you as well......

    While riding alone is just fine, if you hear discussions about goal times among riders before hand, and know that their goals are similar to yours, then by all means ride with or near these people. Especially if they have ridden the Brevet before.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Cranium
    In these "modern days", there are a few things that just about any "web-savvy" rider can do before a Brevet. One thing, that I feel is important, is simply knowing as much as you can about the Brevet course and the possible prevailing weather patterns, winds, hills etc. This can be accomplished, if you can get preride-access to the course and know a little about mapping software...
    being on my second year of riding a series, I've found that running through these courses a second time has felt immensely easier, simply because I knew how long certain grueling sections would be. It can make a big difference, psychologically, when you know that a certain stretch of climbing might only run for 3 miles instead of going for what feels like forever.

    Similarly, doing out and back courses instead of loops, has a somewhat similar benefit; since you turn around with a rough idea of where the isolated, steep or high-traffic areas were on the route.

    The other "secret" would involve knowing something about the controls and or the type of services available on the route. Often, controls are NOT the best place to rest and refuel on a given Brevet. Sure you have to stop and get "signed in", but that doesn't mean you have to stay there.

    If you know about a better cafe, bar, or market, that has air conditioning, seats or benches, go there instead of hanging out at the busier, noisier control point.
    yeah, one of the decisions that I regretted at the 400 was not stopping for dinner in Henniker center, which had a whole slew of restaurants to pick from. I'd heard some good stories of meals that had been whipped up by Peter White and thought that there'd be some feast-like spread at his house, but it was mostly crock-pot baked beans, bagels and peanut butter. Not that I'd disparage the hospitality of my RBAs, but they do work on very limited budgets, and their choice of control points can be rather limited.

    Also, if you get to a good lunch or dinner spot that's a few miles before the control; there's no point in skipping the meal to get an earlier sign-in time. Your sign-in times at the intermediate controls do not matter at all. It's only your finish time that's recorded for posterity. So don't think, "oh, I want to get to the checkpoint first so that I can have it recorded that I got here in 8h 43 min. I'll come back or push on and get lunch afterwards." That's just vanity talking. The only exception to this, of course, is if you're in danger of missing a control's closing time.

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